Local Government Associations play a key role in the coordination and cooperation across levels of government and therefore have an irreplaceable position in planning and implementing the post COVID-19 social and economic recovery measures.

On 11 December 2020, the Empowering Municipalities Project, implemented by UNDP and ZELS, supported by SDC, organised the Annual National Conference: Beyond COVID-19, building resilient local governments. The conference brought together national and local policymakers, experts and practitioners from North Macedonia creating a platform for an open and inclusive discussion and identification of policy recommendations on the financial implications of COVID-19 on Macedonian local governments, the social and economic impact of the pandemic and the municipal pandemic crisis management system.

During the Conference, NALAS Regional Fiscal Decentralisation Expert, Mr. Elton Stafa contributed to the session dedicated on the challenges of financing local governments in the pandemic by presending the key findings and recommendations of the NALAS Survey: South-East European Local Governments in the Post COVID-19 socio-economic recovery, conducted with the support of NALAS member Local Government Associations and the local governments in the region of South-East Europe earlier this year.

At the Conference, Mr. Stafa emphasised that COVID-19 brought an unprecedented challenge for all levels of government with multidimensional consequences for local governments. From the financial perspective, local governments in South-East Europe may lose up to 30% of their revenues if not supported by additional policy measures. Additionally, he highlighted that the strong territorial dimension of the COVID-19 crisis requires place-based policies where Local Governments and their Associations have a key role to play for a swift and successful social and economic recovery.